Contextual Data Policy Statement

As part of the selection process for undergraduate courses, Admissions Tutors may take into account contextual data and use this as additional information about an application.

Contextual information sets an application in its educational and/or socio-economic context, allowing Admissions Tutors to take into account challenges an applicant has faced in their education and the effect of such challenges on their performance in qualifications.

What contextual data do we use?

The following contextual information about applicants is considered in our assessment of applications (1-6 for applicants domiciled in the UK only). The majority of data is derived from the UCAS application, although some circumstances, such as care experience, estrangement and caring responsibilities, will need to be disclosed separately via our Access+ eligibility declaration or Disrupted Studies form(s).

  1. Residence in an area with low participation rates in higher education (POLAR)
  2. Participation in a University of Sheffield post-16 outreach programme (for example SOAMS, ADOPT, Discover)
  3. Participation in the national Realising Opportunities post-16 outreach programme
  4. Whether an applicant is from a care/looked-after background that lasted for more than three months
  5. Whether an applicant is estranged from their family
  6. Whether an applicant has caring responsibilities
  7. Where an applicant will be aged 21 or over at the start of the course, and may therefore require additional consideration on the basis of a period spent away from education, their personal circumstances and/or additional work or life experience
  8. Completion of a University of Sheffield Department for Lifelong Learning foundation programme
  9. Any additional statements, or evidence, supplied by the school or referee in support of the application, via the University’s Disrupted Studies form. This refers to special, personal or extenuating circumstances not covered by the other information supplied.

How do we use contextual data?

Academic selectors will receive the information set out above along with the complete application. Selectors may then use this information as part of their academic consideration of an application, with the aim of identifying the best applicants.

In some cases, we may issue alternative offers to applicants who meet certain contextual data criteria. More information is available on our Access Sheffield webpage:

Access Sheffield

Applicants should note that admissions decisions are not made on the basis of contextual data alone.